Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom) brings wit and emotional depth to this offbeat coming-of-age tale chronicling a year in the life of wunderkind Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), a tenth-grade scholarship student at posh Rushmore Academy.
Max is Rushmore’s least scholarly pupil, but also its most extracurricular. He’s editor of the school newspaper and yearbook, captain of the fencing and debating teams, founder and director of the Max Fischer Players, and president of the French Club, German Club, Chess Club, and almost everything else. His world is thrown into turmoil when he’s put on academic probation and falls madly in love with widowed first-grade teacher Rosemary Cross. To win her heart, he enlists the help of self-made millionaire industrialist and Rushmore benefactor Herman J. Blume (Bill Murray at his Bill Murray-ist). When Max learns that his friend Blume is dating Miss Cross, he declares all-out war.
It’s hard, for just about anyone beyond the teen years, not to squirm at the stark and vivid mirror of adolescent desire that Jason Schwartzman’s character portrays. Max Fischer is at times shockingly mature but at other times surprisingly dense. He is courageous, brilliant and ambitious, but he is also boneheaded, impulsive, and vindictive.
What is it about Max Fischer’s brain that makes him of all these seemingly contradictory things at the same time? Well, he’s an adolescent. But at the level of the brain and the mind, what exactly does “being an adolescent” mean?
Using Rushmore and other references to popular culture, psychiatrist and Science on Screen alum Steven Schlozman will illuminate current understanding of how the adolescent brain is different from the adult brain and the pre-adolescent brain. He’ll examine adolescent behavior with any eye towards exploring some fundamental questions. Why, from a neurobiological perspective, do adolescents take risks? What is it, at the level of the brain’s molecules, that allows adolescents to make such wonderful leaps of intuition and then, in the very next breath, to make such astoundingly ill-advised moves? And how can we use what we know of the adolescent brain to understand how best to understand teenagers – and ourselves?
About the Speaker
Steven Schlozman, MD is the Associate Director of Training for the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Program in Child Psychiatry, and Co-Director of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry for Harvard Medical School, where is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. He is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry.
Dr. Schlozman earned an eternal place in the Science on Screen Hall of Fame after speaking about the neurobiology of zombies in conjunction with a showing of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in 2009. His first novel, The Zombie Autopsies, was published in March 2011, and he is currently collaborating with Romero on a film adaptation of the book. Previously, he gained recognition among scholars of the zombie phenomenon for his journal article that theorized the existence of Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome.